Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard covers a steep territory from the ridgetops of Clarendon to the Onkaparinga River below. Since its establishment in 1971, the vineyard has played a vital role in Australia’s wine heritage, supplying fruit for many of Australia’s most iconic wines. It was not until 2012 that fruit from the vineyard was bottled under its own label, Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard.
The first vines were planted in the hills of Clarendon in 1846, but it was Edward John Peake who brought acclaim to the region when he purchased land in Clarendon in 1858, planted vines, and was soon garnering international praise. While most of Peake’s vineyard was uprooted during the Great Depression, the reputation of his estate and wines inspired future generations. Among them was Alan David Hickinbotham, who based his decision to establish the Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard on the historical pedigree of this sub-region of McLaren Vale.
The roots of the Hickinbotham family and vineyard begin in the early 20th century with Alan Robb Hickinbotham, or ‘Hick’ as he was affectionately called. Hick was known by many as the father of Australian oenology and his passion carried well into the next generation, carving out the future for Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard.
Appointed lecturer in 1929 at Roseworthy College – now the Roseworthy Campus of the University of Adelaide – Alan Robb Hickinbotham became Australia’s first wine science lecturer. He introduced the Diploma Course in Oenology at Roseworthy in 1936, one of the first of its type in the world. Today, the University of Adelaide has gained an international reputation for excellence in wine education and many credit Alan Robb’s research and writings on oenology for laying the foundation of modern winemaking for the Australian wine industry.
Years later and while continuing his father’s passion for wine, son Alan David saw a parcel of land on the Onkaparinga River for sale and couldn’t believe his luck. He was aware of Clarendon’s winemaking history and was eager to continue its illustrious story.
Alan David and his family planted Bordeaux and Rhône varieties, with a focus on Cabernet Sauvignon on dry-farmed, terraced blocks. They soon earned recognition for the quality of their fruit and were selling select parcels to Penfolds for Grange and to Hardy’s for their equivalent flagship range, Eileen Hardy. For years, Clarendon Hills winemaker Roman Bratasiuk purchased fruit for his exalted “Hickinbotham Vineyard” designated wines and his flagship wine, Astralis.
After Alan David’s death in 2010, his son David took over the property and eventually sold the vineyard to the Jackson Family in 2012.
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